• Exploded view of the Rotating Detonation Engine
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The design, build and test of a miniature RDE, pre-detonator and fuel delivery system to achieve stable combustion chamber detonation
Group Members
Jack Taylor, Jared Blackford, Matt Bate, Nathan Clee, David Keszthelyi, Douglas Annesley, Mike Pollard, Chedly Zaouia
Dr. Ralf Deiterding, Dr. Charlie Ryan
The aim of this project is to design, simulate, build and test a Miniature Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE). Detonation engines utilise the Fickett-Jacobs cycle, a constant volume combustion process, which increases the efficiency over the industry standard Brayton cycle, a constant pressure combustion process. The increases in performance from pressure-gain combustion alongside a simple design would allow for current engines to reduce in size and weight. Hence, the potential of this combustion technology spans the entire aerospace industry from replacing the annular combustor in jet engines to rocket engines. RDE’s would reduce overall fuel consumption in the aerospace industry, with both more efficient combustion and the use of green fuels such as hydrogen.

An initial literature review provided the theory to design key functional parameters of the engine and pre-detonator. The engine was designed to be modular with multiple variations of key components. Design of a pre-detonator, support rig and fuel/ oxidiser delivery system were required for successful operation of the engine. This was implemented using computational modelling as part of an iterative design process resulting in technical engineering drawings. The design was verified using Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis. To achieve the necessary mass flow rates an upgrade to the current delivery system was required. A suitable system was designed that provided the mass flow rates and pressure requirements of the RDE while interacting with the DAQ electronic control system. The RDE and pre-detonator were manufactured on site by university technicians and students respectively.
Full assembly of the Engine, Pre-Detonator and Rig
Exploded view of the Rotating Detonation Engine 1 Outer shell 2 O rings 3 Inner chamber 4 Fuel plate 5 M30 nut 6 Fuel plate support 7 Base plate
Exploded view of the Pre-Detonator
Colour map of the engine and it’s constituent parts